Fed Cup: Ashleigh Barty conquers Asheville as Australia upend USA

by   |  VIEW 1916

Fed Cup: Ashleigh Barty conquers Asheville as Australia upend USA

The US Cellular Arena in Asheville served as the host of the Fed Cup World Group tie between the USA and Australia, with the away team scoring the first win over the Americans since July 1984! An in-form Ashleigh Barty had turned the tie into her party, delivering three points for the yellow squad to send the Aussies into the first semi-final since 2014 when they lost at home to Germany.

On Saturday, Nart defeated Sofia Kenin in straight sets before Madison Keys claimed the second rubber to make the score even at 1-1 before the Sunday's deciding day. In the battle of the top-ranked players from both teams, Barty needed just 66 minutes to dismiss Keys 6-4, 6-1 and move Australia back in front, trailing 3-0 before rattling off seven straight breaks to leave Madison far behind.

Making Fed Cup debut, the Australian Open semi-finalist Danielle Collins toppled Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in an hour and 57 minutes, serving at only 53% but delivering better numbers on both the first and second serve to keep the USA in contention before the deciding doubles match that would determine the last semi-finalist.

Alicia Molik decided to go with Ashleigh Barty and the 20-year-old debutant Priscilla Hon who produced a 6-4, 7-5 win over Danielle Collins and another debutant Nicole Melichar in an hour and 39 minutes to push Australia over the finish line.

The Aussies were the stronger pair at the beginning of the match, finding an instant range on the return and moving 3-2 up with a break in game five. Collins and Melichar had the opportunity to pull the break back in the very last moment but they wasted a break chance, allowing their rivals to convert the fourth break point for a 6-4.

Ashleigh and Priscilla were a break up in the second set twice but the Americans kept coming back, staying in touch before losing 12 of the last 14 points of the match to hand a well-deserved win to Australia that will now face Belarus for the first time.